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Embracing Inclusivity: The Power of Pronouns in Today's Workplace

July 18, 2023 |  38 seconds

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Over coffee, three coworkers in an inclusive workplace discuss team members when Jamie, a new employee who used with gender-neutral pronouns in their email signature and LinkedIn profile, becomes the topic. One coworker mentions, "She's awesome." This causes a moment of confusion for another coworker, who had assumed Jamie was a cisgender male, highlighting the importance of pronoun usage in today's work environment.

Inclusivity, particularly related to gender identity and expression, has become crucial in promoting an inclusive language environment. DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) initiatives encourage using correct pronouns to avoid misgendering and show respect to transgender, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, and non-binary individuals. With more Americans adopting gender-inclusive language, the emphasis on understanding and respecting personal pronouns, whether they be she/her/hers, zir, or other gender-inclusive pronouns, has grown.

This is evident in face-to-face interactions and on platforms like Zoom and Slack where team members might display their preferred pronouns. In the era of social media and digital communication, using the proper pronouns has become a standard of allyship, helping ensure everyone, from transgender people to gender fluid or non-binary people, feels acknowledged and respected.

When Jamie walks past the group, one coworker, understanding the importance of setting the tone, introduced herself using her own pronouns. In doing so, she emphasizes the importance of acknowledging one's gender pronouns and making space for others in the process. By using their own pronouns and offering Jamie the opportunity to share theirs, the coworker demonstrates how to practice allyship, subtly correcting the incorrect pronoun used earlier and providing a gentle lesson in respecting gender expression and identity.